Quality assurance project plan (QAPP) templates for grantees & data gatherers

Most environmental science grantees, including those receiving grants from the National Estuary Program, need to submit a quality assurance project plan (QAPP) for approval before beginning work. 

A QAPP is intended to ensure that projects which collect or analyze environmental data develop plans for field, laboratory, and analytical activities that meet quality standards appropriate to the goals and scope of the project. Our quality assurance (QA) framework and documents are based on policies and guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


QAPP resources

Standard procedures for field sampling & analysis

Grantees are required to use standard operating procedures (SOPs) for any field sampling and field analytical activities they undertake.

Help with laboratory accreditation

Any data submitted to us or funded by us must be performed by an accredited lab using an accredited method.

National Estuary Program grantee considerations

Detailed NEP quality assurance process flowchart:
Click to enlarge.
Simplified NEP quality assurance process flowchart:
Click to enlarge.

Everyone who receives funding for a project from the federal EPA’s National Estuary Program (NEP) through any Washington state agency will need to work with Ecology's NEP Quality Coordinator to fulfill quality assurance requirements.

As soon as a final agreement or contract statement of work is in place, contact the NEP Quality Coordinator to determine whether a quality assurance project plan (QAPP) will be required (see flowchart diagram). In general, a QAPP is required if your project will do any of the following activities:

  • Generate new environmental data.
  • Analyze existing environmental data.
  • Model environmental conditions.

The earlier in your project you begin the QAPP process, the easier it will be.

Please reach out to the NEP Quality Coordinator early in your process to discuss whether your project requires a QAPP. Contact information is at the bottom of this page.

You cannot begin work on your project until you either have an approved QAPP or confirmation from the NEP Quality Coordinator that a QAPP is not required.